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Cats as Friends

Story ID:6131
Written by:Richard Laurent. Provencher (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Family History
Location:Truro, Nova Scotia Canada
Person:Richard L. Provencher
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Cats as Friends

One of my dictionaries has a great definition for a cat: “a small flesh-eating animal, often kept as a household pet …” I prefer the definition friend, a person bound to another by affection, esteem, and intimacy.”

JC, a member of our family for almost eighteen years easily lived those words. She was a dear black and white, loved to chat, sharing affection, esteem and intimacy. It was so difficult letting her go when her health gave up. I’m sure she is happily roaming a field of green, this moment, chasing butterflies and sniffing the boundaries of her new domain.

From the age of eight, I discovered how useful cats were. My father had a winter’s load of mine wood delivered for a modest price. However, accompanying this furnace-burning material was a harvest of mice. They scurried around our basement in plentiful supply. “Somebody do something. Please,” my mother intoned.

I noticed an army of stray cats in our neighborhood. One at a time, they were introduced to the vagaries of our home’s basement. Six cats enjoyed a joyous visit with their scurrying victims. After a crescendo of noise abated, I opened a window and allowed a flight of fur into the full view of day. That was the end of our mice problem. No further mine wood was purchased.

Whiskers, a one-fanged abandoned cat hung around our home for a few days before he adopted our family. He was a brute in the evening hours, but allowed my youngest sister, six years old at the time, to dress him in doll clothes. Susan chatted happily, pushing the ‘terror of the neighborhood’ around in her baby carriage. He never disagreed with anything she had to say.

As I grew older I discovered the love these felines had for humans.

Louise, my white cat with charcoal streaks, helped this bachelor take better notice of a lovely lady, Esther, who later became my wife. She was not really fond of furry cats at first. She obviously made an impression, receiving the gift of four padded feet jumping into her lap.

After a tragic accident with a car fan belt, where she perched one cold evening, Louise departed from this world. I am sure a special place was reserved for such an affectionate friend.

Months later, Fluffy joined our family after our visit to the SPCA. Her angora fur, and calico colors made it easy to name her. She followed us everywhere in our walks around the neighborhood. That little bundle of fur had the habit of chasing the largest dogs who seemed amused by her audacity, and tolerated her.

She loved to lie tightly against my side each night, fearing to let me out of her sight. As she approached ten years of living with us, her health began to fail. It was decided to get her a sister, a kitten as a companion, to help her feel young again.

Another visit to the SPCA brought me into contact with JC, who repeatedly pawed at the cage door. She sensed her allotted time in care had run out, and she had to latch onto someone to take her to a new home. We named her JC, after the Jayco trailer we purchased the same day.

Fluffy and JC thoroughly enjoyed each other’s company, even as they accompanied us in our long move from Wyoming, Ontario to Pictou, Nova Scotia. It appeared to be comfortable in the back passenger seats, pulled down to accommodate water, food and sleeping quarters.

Unfortunately, Fluffy passed away a short time after our arrival. We believe she was overcome by the excitement of the moving. Her remains were laid to rest in the red soil of Nova Scotia.

Our family cat adventures continued.

We did not have undue luck with our feline creatures, but experienced life through their days of days. Due to the strangeness of living in a new neighborhood, JC got lost for several days shortly after arrival in Pictou, Nova Scotia. But her remarkable cat-chatter earned overnight attention from a couple nearby.

Several months later, when we settled in our country home near Truro, JC was in her glory. Three acres of woods were explored, trees scratched and a rich vein of mice available outside and in our earthen basement, kept her in prime condition.

Then, Diane, our niece surprised us with a Christmas gift. “Boots was really a friend for Fluffy,” she said. He was a one-year gray and the first male we had. Both cats became inseparable. They played as mother and child. One day, JC came crying to the house and led us back to where Boots was 30 feet high in a tree, fearfully swaying in the wind. We rescued her. Unfortunately Boots was soon to be run over by a car.

It was a sad time for everyone, but more so for JC. In fact, she often lay on Boots’ grave, located between two huge maples in our back yard. She truly lamented the loss of her adopted child. We were disheartened when it came time for JC to also go to sleep. Our feline friend lived with our family for almost twenty years.

We had shared so much in the great adventure of our growing older together. And years later, we still miss JC’s friendly cat-chatter.

© Richard L. Provencher